The RNLI is advising people to take care around the south west coastline this autumn as lifeguard cover officially comes to an end on Sunday.
As lifeguards prepare to pack up for the winter, the charity will maintain patrols at weekends and half term in October on the region’s 12 busiest beaches.
This weekend sees the official end of the RNLI lifeguard season in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Jersey. However lifeguard cover will continue on 12 of the busiest beaches across the region during weekends in October and throughout the school half term break.
These beaches include Praa Sands, Gwithian, Porthmeor, Porthtowan, Perranporth, Polzeath, Widemouth and Summerleaze in Cornwall and Bantham, Croyde and Woolacombe in Devon.
For the second year running Fistral will have full time cover during October and will also be patrolled during weekends in November by volunteer lifeguards.
RNLI Lifeguard Inspector Steve Instance said: "This year has been another busy season for RNLI lifeguards on beaches around the south west as the teams have dealt with a range of incidents from major and minor first aids, lost children, and numerous rescues of people in difficulty in the water.
"Thanks to additional funding from local authorities and private beach owners, the charity is again able to extend the lifeguard season into October on a selection of beaches providing safety cover for those looking to prolong the summer season and enjoy the favourable surf conditions that autumn brings. We encourage people heading to the coast at weekends and during half term to visit these beaches where the charity’s lifesavers will be on hand to keep people safe, offering useful advice to help prevent accidents and a rapid reaction if something does go wrong.
"Of course the charity’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews remain on call 24 hours a day ready to respond to anyone in difficulty around the coast. However it’s essential that people are aware of the dangers and know how to look after themselves in the water to prevent incidents. We’d recommend that people take note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, always go with a friend or tell someone on the shore where they are going and be aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water. If water users should find themselves in difficulty they should keep hold of their surf or bodyboard as it’ll help keep them afloat. Walkers should also find out about the local tide times and avoid visiting more remote parts of the shoreline when the tide is coming in.’
More beach safety advice can be found online.